The Laboratory of Nematology
at Wageningen University and Research is looking for a PhD researcher to be a part of an EU HORIZON EUROPE project entitled “An integrated set of novel approaches to counter the emergence and proliferation of invasive and virulent soil-borne nematodes” (acronym: Nem
Emerge) (start: early 2024). Nem
Emerge concentrates on two drivers of emerging diseases: global warming (pathogens proliferate in a poleward direction) and genetic selection (due to ample use of a small set host plant resistances).
The project consortium comprises 19 partners from all over Europe that work together in ‘work packages’ that address different aspects of this project. The project allowed us to appoint three PhD’s: each will work on another work package, but together you will be a team of PhDs that contribute to the overall project goals.
Nematodes, also referred to as roundworms, are ubiquitous in soils. A small minority of the plant-parasitic nematodes seriously threatens food and feed production and needs to be controlled. Nem
Emerge concentrates on the two most impactful plant-pathogenic nematodes, namely root-knot and cyst nematodes. Chemical control of these nematodes is no longer a viable option, and durable alternatives have to be developed. Such solutions are - almost without exception - knowledge-intensive, and as a PhD you will directly contribute to sustainable disease control by addressing urgent scientific questions in a European framework.
Some soils have disease suppressing capabilities. This wanted phenomenon is mostly the result of the combined action of antagonists, bacterial and fungal species that compete with or feed on the pathogen, whereas other biota strengthen the plant innate immune system. As a PhD you will investigate the indigenous capacity of soils to suppress root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne
spp.). In cooperation with European partners, samples will be collected along two major sampling swaths from Spain and Turkey to northern Germany. Moreover, you will research how these nematode-suppressing microbiota can be promoted by for instance cover crops or other specific soil management measures.
Your duties and responsibilities include:
You will work here
- contribution to the DNA-based mapping of nematode communities throughout two major European sampling swaths;
- high throughput DNA sequencing-based characterisation of microbial communities in putatively nematode suppressive soils;
- the use of a bio-informatics workflow to analyse microbial and nematode sequencing data;
- the development of measures to boost and promote soil microbiota that suppress range expanding root-knot nematodes.
The research is embedded within the chair Laboratory of Nematology
, and members of the Nematology team, which is led by Prof. Geert Smant
You will be co-supervised by dr. Hans Helder and dr. Aska Goverse.